South African gymnast Caitlin Rooskrantz has moved on to represent the country at the 2020 Olympics, which will be hosted in Tokyo, Japan. The 17-year-old athlete is now the first South African woman to qualify for the Olympics at the World Championships without utilising African Continental birth.
Rooskrantz, along with fellow gymnasts Naveen Daries and Mammule Rankoe, competed at the 2019 Artistic World Championships in Stuttgart this past week. The championship also acts as an Olympic qualification event.
Rooskrantz scored a 49.466 at the championship, placing her number one for the country and putting her through to the Olympics. As a result of the one country qualification rule, only Rooskrantz is allowed to qualify for the Olympics at these World Championships. However, Daries still has a chance of qualifying at the African Gymnastics in April 2020.
“The South African Gymnastics Federation is ecstatic with the results of its Women’s Artistic Team who have competed at the 2019 Artistic World Championships in Stuttgart this week. Caitlin Rooskrantz, Naveen Daries and Mammule Rankoe have flown the South African flag high at the Olympic qualification competition,” writes the South African Gymnastics Federation in a statement.
“The most exciting news is that Caitlin will qualify for the Olympic Games with her performance at the World Championships (awaiting FIG confirmation on Sunday). Even with a fall on the beam she reached a total score of 49.466 finishing just ahead of Naveen (49.399) who performed cleanly on all apparatus. Caitlin has beaten gymnasts from Sweden, Chile, Israel, Norway, Azerbaijan and even Olympic medalist Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan.”
SAGF Acting President Mr Donovan Jurgens states: “These women’s performances are the best South Africa has seen in years. It is the first time a South African Artistic Woman has qualified at the World Championships for the Olympics without utilising the African Continental birth. And to have two gymnasts’ neck on neck in this race is even more encouraging. Should Naveen qualify at the African Championships this will be the first time in South African Gymnastics history that two gymnasts from the same discipline qualify for an Olympic Games.”